Tax Return - two words guaranteed to make any self-employed person frown. Not only can it seem like a complicated process, but the deadline seems to come around more and more quickly each year. The deadline to file your return is midnight on the 31st January.
If you’re running out of time to get your tax return submitted, then take a deep breath and read through the following steps. You still have time!
Step 1: Create some time
You can’t rush a tax return and it’s always best to give it your full attention. Drop the kids off with a friend or family member, turn your phone off, and try to work with minimal distractions. If you’re doing 5 things at once then you could easily make a mistake on your form and this could have far-reaching consequences. If you can spare a whole day, then do this. It’s not likely to take this long, but you never know what issues are going to crop up. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Step 2: Find your login details, or register
Already registered? Time to remember your login details! Visit the Government Gateway website to login to your Self Assessment account, you will need your Government Gateway ID and the password that you chose when you set it up.
Lost your details? HMRC can help you reset your password or find your User ID.
Not yet registered? If you've never used the online service before it can take up to 7 working days for your account to be set up and the activation code sent to you. The 22nd January is potentially the last day you can do this, find out more here. If you are too late you will incur a penalty for late filing. Find out more about user IDs here.
Step 3: Gather your paperwork
Gather together your records for the previous financial year. This means that if you’re submitting a self-assessment before the end of January 2015, you’ll need the records of your earnings and expenditure between 4th April 2013 and 5th April 2014. You’ll need to provide records of your ‘self-employed’ income (such as invoices, rental payments made to you etc.), as well as any extra things like pension payments you’ve made or dividend vouchers. If you have costs associated with your business, such as supplies and travel, you will need to find receipts for those and add those to your return.
Step 4: Fill in your return online
Fill in the form online. Make sure you take each step slowly and double check to ensure you’re giving the correct information. Each step is communicated clearly, and there are help pages on the website should you get stuck. At the end of the process the amount of Tax, National Insurance Contributions and any Student Loan payments you owe will be calculated, you can download and save your return and then move to the next step...
(Can't do it online? The deadline for paper returns was the 31st October 2014, so an online return is your only option at this stage).
Step 5: Pay what you owe
The deadline for paying, as well as filing, the tax that you owe is the 31st January 2015. You can pay online via debit card, or choose to pay via Bank Transfer / BACS. Once you've completed your return be sure to save your tax return PDF and the receipt you are given for your payment - you may need this to prove payment was made.
23rd January - last day to pay with a new Direct Debit
27th January - last day to pay by BACS, existing Direct Debit or Post
31st January - last day to file your return
31st January - last day to pay by CHAPS, debit/credit card online, at your bank/building society or at the Post Office
File your self asssessment Tax Return
Self Assessment Help Pages
How to recover your User ID or reset your password
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